Orange Alert

From Comics to Canvases: Exploring Diverse Cultural Contributions

Two A&S faculty, Will Scheibel and Scott Manning Stevens, curate thought-provoking summer exhibitions.

June 13, 2024, by Kerrie Marshall

Two events happening this summer showcase the unique scholarly and cultural contributions of A&S faculty. Comics: A nine-film series at The Dryden Theatre in Rochester, New York, will explore comic book adaptations in film. Canvas: An exhibition at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York, will juxtapose Indigenous perspectives on land with 19th-century American landscape paintings.

From Page to Screen


Both comic books and movies have been around for well over a century. The first adaptation of a comic to a live action film was in 1939, featuring the well-known superhero, Captain Marvel. Two Syracuse University faculty members have teamed up with Jared Case, curator of film exhibitions at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, for a nine-film series to explore the varied ways filmmakers have taken source material from comic books and brought it to the screen.

Will Scheibel, professor and department chair of the department of English, and Kendall Phillips, professor in communication and rhetorical studies from the College of Visual & Performing Arts, have collaborated with Case in Beyond the Universe: Comic Books and Film. The series will run from June through August at The Dryden Theatre in Rochester and spotlight films from the past 45 years. In addition to the Marvel and DC Universes, popular in the past 15 years, the series will look at additional film adaptations from the last 45 years including Rocketboy (1991), Road to Perdition (2002) and Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010). The series will examine the diverse methods filmmakers have used to adapt comic book stories to big screen, focusing on the themes and visual expressions—both essential elements of comic books.

Admission is $9 for George Eastman Museum members, $12 for nonmembers, $5 for students with ID and $5 for 17 and under. See the full schedule and buy tickets at the Dryden Theatre website.

Two images: Left shows an art installation depicting waterfalls with natural reeds and right is a classic American oil painting of a waterfall.
An example of the juxtaposition of Native American Art, Waterfall VIII, 2011 by Truman T. Low (Ho-Chunk), left, in context with a Thomas Cole American Landscape painting, Kaaterskill Falls, 1826, right.

In Context: Hudson River School and Indigenous Art

Scott Manning Stevens, associate professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies, curated an exhibit at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York. “Native Prospects: Indigeneity and Landscape” explores the relationship between Indigenous perspectives on land and the American landscape paintings of Thomas Cole. The exhibition contrasts Indigenous perspectives on their homelands and environment with Thomas Cole's American landscape paintings, which are based on European traditions. Cole is celebrated as the founder of the 19th-century American art movement known as the Hudson River School of landscape painting.

It also features contemporary art by Indigenous artists such as Teresa Baker (Mandan/Hidatsa), Brandon Lazore (Onondaga, Snipe Clan), Truman T. Lowe (Ho-Chunk), Alan Michelson (Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River), and Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee). The exhibit is accompanied by a collection of original essays by Manning and many other Indigenous scholars.

An expert on American Indian history and museum studies, Stevensis Karoniaktatsie (Akwesasne Mohawk). He directs The Center for Global Indigenous Cultures and Environmental Justice at Syracuse University. The exhibition runs from May 4 to October 27 and then will be featured at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, where it will be on display until early February of 2025, followed by the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, until July.

To learn more, listen to a podcast conversation between Stevens and the Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, Art and Fellowship at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Read Thomas Cole’s Landscape Painting Through an Indigenous Lens in the online publication, Hyperallergic, sharing contemporary pespectives on art, culture and more.


Will Scheibel Professor and Chair

Scott Stevens Associate Professor, Director - Center for Global Indigenous Cultures and Environmental Justice, Director - Native American and Indigenous Studies

Media Contact

Kerrie Marshall